Spyro the Dragon

a game by SCEA
Platforms: Playstation, PSX
Editor Rating: 7.6/10, based on 7 reviews
User Rating: 6.0/10 - 11 votes
Rate this game:
See also: Spyro Games

As megahits-in-the-making such as Crash Bandicoot: Wanted, Tomb Raider, and Metal Gear Solid prepare to make their holiday rush, there's another PlayStation game that just might glide into your world--Spyro the Dragon.

Even in its early stages, Spyro is shaping up to be a primo platform adventure epic that appears to be trying to answer the question: just how pretty can a PlayStation game be? As it did with Crash Bandicoot, Sony Computer Entertainment of America looks ready to score with another collaborative PlayStation development effort, this time with Insomniac Games and Universal Interactive Studios.

Get Gnasty

In preview form, Spyro the Dragon unveiled a wondrously mystical world, with smooth gameplay and animation that compelled you to pick up a Dual Shock controller just to watch the little guy move!

Playing as the plucky dragon cub, Spyro, you will be on a quest to free your fellow dragons from a nasty spell cast by an obnoxious gno-goodnik named Gnasty Gnorc. Gnasty's transformed all dragons into crystal statues, which are scattered across six massive worlds.

You'll have to track down your crystallized homies, all 80 of whom are hidden in 30 geographically diverse areas. The adventure covers the gamut of environments, including deserts, ice lands, and even underwater worlds.

Yet Spyro will have to find more than just his lost dragon brethren if he's going to get a crack at Gnasty. He'll have to defeat a wacked-out army of reptilian henchmen in order to recover pilfered jewels and retrieve stolen dragon eggs, too. According to Sony, if you find everything, you'll unlock a hidden level.

Fire-Bbreathing Firepower

When it comes to combat, Spyro will definitely be no flaggin' dragon. He'll be packing Gnorc-wupping power in his fiamethrowing breath and a headbutt that's practically unstoppable. He can also pull some slick moves, such as a long-distance power glide, a ram-chargin' run, and a variety of cool-looking body rolls.

Spyro will be protected by his sidekick, Sparks the dragonfly, a sort of rechargeable insect shield that runs interference for him against the bad guys.

Dragon FX

Spyro, his moves, and his worlds were beautifully cast with gorgeous graphics and impressive sounds in the pre-release CD.

The graphics in the early disc revealed a lush fantasy land that looked like something out of an animated feature film. The preview CD displayed Spyro with silky-smooth character graphics and cartoon-like animation. Moreover, speaking of animation-quality graphics, Insomniac and Universal not only had the game animation running at 30 frames per second, but they're also using a new compression technique that allows them to store twice as many frames of animation than normal.

Spyro will also show off impressive proprietary graphics technology that enables the game designers to create amazingly smooth background textures for nicely detailed long-distance views. In the prelim CD, some jewels revealed their hiding places by the merest twinkle in a far-off hillside.

During gameplay, you'll also be able to pull a few camera tricks, rotating the cam around Spyro 360 degrees and playing from any angle. By swiveling Spyro's head, you'll fire up close-ups with a 180-degree field of view in any direction.

As if all this wasn't enough, the early version played audio that actually rocked, thanks in large part to music composed by former Police-man, Stewart Copeland. And if Spyro sounds familiar, it's because his voice-overs are done by Carlos Alazraqui, who does voices for Rocko's Modern World and for the Chihuahua in the Taco Bell commercials.

Will Spyro Fly?

Spyro the Dragon could be the sleeper hit of the season, but, then again, he may suffer the curse of Yoshi: too cute for his own good. Insomniac and Universal will attempt to temper the cute-n-cuddly factor with brain-draining platform-style gameplay. Whether or not they succeed when Spyro is released this October will be up to you to judge.

Download Spyro the Dragon

Playstation

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PSX

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

There's a mind-boggling load of great PlayStation CDs out there, so any new game seeking play time needs a little extra magic. Spyro the Dragon's got it. This cool game parlays gorgeous graphics, sweet animation, and great control into topnotch platform-style action/adventure gaming.

Dragons Tale

Much like Crash Bandicoot: Warped (see Spotlight on Crash Bandicoot: Warped, "Bam! Boom! Crash!" in this issue), Spyro is all about hunting and gathering. The story's centered around a littie guy named Spyro, who must save his dragon kin from Cnasty Cnorc, a real gno-goodnik. Gnasty's cast a spell over six dragon worlds, turning dragons into crystal statues and transforming their treasured jewels into Gnorc soldiers.

Yes, you'd best be prepared to hunker down for the long haul: Spyro must explore 30 levels to find 80 dragon statues, defeat the entire Gnorc army to recover each and every jewel, and reclaim 12 stolen eggs.

Magical Moves

Crisp controls and outstanding graphics make playing this game a joy, but you know there's something special happening when you're mesmerized by just moving Spyro around his environment even without the gameplay.

Spyro's repertoire of moves is impressive. He can trot and jump, of course, but he can also traverse long distances by leaping from high places and then gliding through the air sort of like a flying squirrel. On the ground, he becomes a dragon dragster when he busts his supersonic speed dash.

Moreover, when he has to put it to the Cnorcs, Spyro can dish out the pain. He breathes fire and uses his head as a battering ram--it's only a two-move offense, but it successfully pulverizes all Cnorcs. For protection, Spyro has a wingman, Sparks the dragonfly. Sparks buzzes around the Spy-guy, acting as a sort of living shield.

Graphics That SticK

Excellent graphics and animation provide the game with the look and feel of an animated movie. Smooth character graphics manage to literally bring Spyro to life: You can practically see his muscles moving with every swish of his tail.

In addition, Spyro's far-out fantasy landscape can be breathtaking. The picturesque background pics create stunningly expansive views of massive worlds. You'll even learn to discern some jewels by the merest twinkle in the faraway distance.

Proof that these visuals and moves are nicely melded together is especially evident if you use the analog joystick on the Dual Shock controller. The stick guides Spyro with precision. You can also swing the gameplay cam completely around Spyro to play from any angle. If you still need a reason to go analog, Spyro is definitely it.

Easy Listening

Spyro's nicely crafted audio is laid-back and easy on the ears. The music has a catchy, mellow jazz-rock swing to it. The crystal-dear effects feature cool details like the swoosh when he breathes fire. There's also good detail in the character vocals during the animated cinemas, as each saved dragon has a unique voice.

No Pain-Just Gain

As you might suspect, Spyro's challenge level is tuned for all ages. Most jewels are out in plain sight, "gnuking" Gnorcs is fairly straightforward, 'y and level bosses are a breeze. Usually a few hard-to-find jewels or a particularly tough jump are all that threaten to stump you. Hardcore gamers will likely bust through the early levels, but with this game, the superb fantasy land beckons you to explore every bit of it.

Dragon of Destiny

The Dragon's got the chops to hang with any action/plattorm game for any system. Although one could argue that Spyro looks a bit too cute for his own good, this excellently crafted game is a winner. Spyro's special.

ProTips:

  • Dragon fire breaks open chests.
  • Whenever you exit and return to a level, the enemies you've vanquished return. Beat them again, and they give up crystals that add up to extra lives, butterflies for Sparks, and, sometimes, 1-ups.
  • Gnorc squads usually try to use the little guys to draw you within range of the big guys.
  • For some long-range glides, you have to take oft from precisely the right spot. If you're having trouble, study your launch area for bumps or slight extensions.
  • If you face an especially long glide, look for super dash arrows nearby.
  • You can launch yourself with a super dash even If you have to go around a corner.

Graphics

Impressive graphics and animation make the cutesy Spyro come alive, and the environment looks and feels huge.

Control

The controls are excellently tuned to the visuals. A topnotch interface lets you track your jewel collection and dragon-saving for each level. This game really makes the Dual Shock controller shine.

Sound

Nice attention to audio details and the catchy, mellow music match up with the gameplay quite nicely.

Fun Factor

Plenty of fun for days as long as you enjoy exploration as well as platform gaming and can hang with Spyro's cuteness. Just moving Spyro around kicks.

Spyro the Dragon is the latest action/platform title from the combined talents of Sony, Universal Interactive, and Insomniac Games. Judging from the version on display at E3, Spyro could raise the bar for PlayStation graphics. The 3D visuals were silky and seamless. Spyro himself was a visual treat as well, composed of smooth-edged polygons to create a lifelike look. However. Spyro isn't visual smoke: He has several gameplay techniques that could challenge the most seasoned gamer, including the ability to run, fly, roll, and even breathe fire. Could Crash be in danger of losing his action/platform crown? Find out this fall.

People say:

8

Spyro raises the bar for 3D mascot-type adventures on the PlayStation. It has slick, fast graphics, with barely any seams, warped textures or other common glitches. The camera is the best I've seen in this type of game. Control is spot-on. The music and voice acting are first-rate--no surprise, considering the talent behind both. Even the title character is a likable little guy. Heck, Spyro beats the snot out of my former favorite PS mascot game, Gex: Enter the Gecko, in almost every way. Almost. As in Gex, Croc and their ilk, Spyro has you collecting stuff: gems, eggs, etc. It's fun, sure, and gathering everything on every level opens a cool bonus stage, but it's also a gameplay concept that's getting stale. (The addition of individual objectives, as in Gex, would have been welcome.) And nearly all the Bosses are small, easy and decidedly unBoss-like. Still, Spyro has its unique qualities. The enemies--all well-animated--demand varied attack strategies depending on their size. You'll play five flying stages that would nearly make a cool game on their own. In fact, the 35 levels are all well-designed and encourage exploration. You'll see lots of distant areas that make you mumble, "Hmm ... how do I get over there?" Oh, and for a cool surprise press Li and Triangle together at the Start Screen.

8

Spyro is easily the best-looking, smoothest-moving 3D platformer on the PlayStation to date. It's a little bit on the simple side (aside from the very cool flying bonus stages, all you basically do is run around and collect stuff), but it's got just enough to it that it'll keep even hardened platform veterans hooked until the end. The graphics are gorgeous, the music is solid and most importantly, the game is fun. Definitely check it out.

8

Spyro is to the PlayStation what Banjo-Kazooie is to the Nintendo 64--an incredibly solid 3D action/adventure that surpasses every other game in its genre that preceded it. Spyro combines the two most-important aspects of any good game: graphics and gameplay. Be aware-Spyro can be difficult, but it still feels a little on the childish side at times. I only wish the control was a bit more friendly in high-risk areas.

8

Very few games totally immerse you into the game as Spyro does. The lands you explore and the enemies you encounter all seem to fit well within the universe the game creates. The graphics are among the finest seen on the PlayStation and the play controls are perfectly tuned. The only shortcoming of Spyro is the lack of diversity in his objectives which makes for repetitive play. Still, nothing comes close to Spyro in this genre.

From crocs to geckos to bandicoots, the PlayStation's library is populated with more goofball characters than poor PaRappa has fleas. Still, we at EGM--the professional vid-game journalists that we are--triple-ought dare you to find a cuter, more immediately likable character than Spyro the Dragon. We don't know if it's his kitten-like animation or the kid-at-summer-camp exuberance of his personality, but this purple little char-broiling mascot-in-waiting's got charisma coming out his ass. Oh, and his game's pretty cool, too.

Spyro the Dragon is another 3D platformer that, like Gex: Enter the Gecko and Banjo-Kazooie, emphasizes exploration and requires you to collect stuff. Lots of stuff. In fact, the 30-plus levels pack thousands of gem-shaped treasure pieces that you'll ultimately have to track down and nab if you plan on perfecting the game. Then there are the 80 dragon statues scattered across the stages. As the game's story goes, the diabolical Gnasty Gnorc cast a spell on Spyro's realm, turning all its dragon inhabitants into instant sculptures. Young Spyro, playing in a cave at the time, dodged the spell's effects, and now he must find and reanimate his elder reptilian brethren. Besides those goals, Spyro will also collect dragon eggs, keys and other items to access new other items to access new areas and bonus levels, such as special obstacle-course flying stages.

In a layout that's seemingly become the norm for these types of games, Spyro is divided into several massive overworlds--six of them--which in turn lead to the individual stages. Included in this mix are the Boss stages for each world, as well as the bonus levels. Spyro's flight abilities are dependent on the current stage (in some he can glide indefinitely, in others his little wings'll only take him so far). But in every level Spyro can breathe fire, headbutt baddies and roll sideways to dodge attacks.

Overworlds? Hidden levels? Collectibles? Sounds like standard 3D adventure-game stuff, right? Well, what Spyro lacks in originality, it more than makes up for in presentation and production values. Spyro may only be the second PlayStation game from developer Insomniac (the same bunch that created the acclaimed first-person shooter Disruptor), but it packs all the perks of a third-generation, state-of-the-art PlayStation title. The lush environments don't suffer from seams, pop-up or other commonplace PlayStation glitches. And there's not a bitmap to be found anywhere in the game (even the skies are completely polygonal).

But crisp visuals ain't the only thing separating Spyro from the me-too 3D crowd. Insomniac has taken special care to imbue the game with personality, making the enemies more than just troublemaking window dressing. "There's usually a lot more going on than just the actions you see occurring around Spyro," said Ted Price, Insomniac's president. "In the Magic Crafters world, for instance, there's actually a little battle going on between wizards and druids there. If you go to several of the levels, in the distance you can see wizards and druids knocking each other down and kicking each other. It really adds more to the immersiveness of the game and creates a world that is much more complete than you might see in other games."

The camera was also the target of much tinkering. Insomniac purposely kept the environments uncluttered. As a result, the camera encounters fewer structures and objects on which it might get snagged. Players can also switch between two camera modes--one passive and one that automatically points in the direction Spyro's facing. "We spent a lot of time refining the code involved with the camera and a lot of time getting feedback from the focus groups put on by Sony," Price said, "and we came back with something that I think works really well." You can experience Spyro's ultrasmooth gameplay firsthand; the disc included with the September issue of the Official PlayStation Magazine packs a playable demo of the game.

Overview

What happens when you take five dragon families living in five dragon worlds and throw in a Jealous Gnorc? If you guessed that you get a bunch of dragons trapped in crystals with only one hope, a dragon name Spyro and a dragonfly named Sparx, you guessed right! It is up to you to rescue all the dragons and stop the Gnasty Gnorc. Think you have what it takes?

Spyro the Dragon is the latest and greatest marketing hype, er, games from SCEA. I don't mean to say that Sony markets the crap out of their games, but let's just say that they do a pretty good job of getting the word out to the public when they have a new game that they want the world to know about. Enter Spyro, the head-ramming, flame-throwing overly cute purple dragon. It is up to you to solve puzzles, collect treasures and free the encased dragons across the lands. Is this another over-hyped marketing effort or does this game deserve the attention? Read on and you shall see.

Gameplay

I feel like jumping straight into this review, so let's get right to it. Spyro is a 3D, go-anywhere platform game, ala Mario 64. Ever since the release of the N64, Mario has been the measuring stick for greatness so I will use it for comparisons. Spyro goes across six different worlds, collecting gems. Unlike most platform games, you will not get a bonus at 100 gems, or at any number of gems for that matter. You just try to collect all of the gems in the level. Fortunately you are given the number you are trying to find so you will not have to wonder if you missed any. Some of these gems are just lying around, while others are hidden in treasure chests and even others are revealed only after killing an enemy. The point is that you had better get ready to look high, low and anywhere in between to locate these things.

Your other objective during the game is to free the dragons that have been encased in crystal. Like with the gems, you are given the total number of frozen dragons on the level so you will know when you have found them all. When you find one of these dragons, you head smash into them and they will break free. Once free, they will talk to you and either give you a hint or a tip or most likely they will just say something that is completely useless. This was one of my complaints about the game. You would think that these dragons would be a little more helpful but instead they just say something stupid or worthless and it makes you wonder why they even bothered.

The game is broken up into five different dragon worlds and one world that houses Gnasty. All of the worlds are free roaming and have multiple sub-worlds mixed within. The first world you access is your home world and this one is where you can access all of the sub-worlds. You can always return to your home in each level regardless of which sub-world you are in. So basically the idea is that you run around in all of these different environments trying to gather gems and free the dragons. That pretty much sums it all up.

This was another of my complaints with the game. It just seemed to get boring after playing for awhile. I can't really put my finger on the exact reason but most platform games give me motivation to push forward to see what would be next. For some strange reason, I just did not have the same motivation to keep going in this game. I know that the basic idea of every platform game ever invented is to collect some sort of token item. In the case of this game it was just, well, boring walking around collecting gems. I just kept waiting for something new and exciting to happen but it never really did.

I think part of the reason that my motivation to push forward in the game was due to the fact that all of the sub-worlds were almost identical. I think that this game just lacked the variety in the levels to really pull me into the game. It seemed like once I started a new world I was stuck in the same type of environment for a few hours until I went off to the next world. It is difficult to explain the feeling but the best way to describe it is the old, very annoying saying, been there...done that. If there was ever a game that gives you this feeling, it is this.

After reading all of this you must think that I hated the game and that it was total crap. This is not the case at all. I think that this is a very good 3D platform style game in most respects. I think that the developers may have made the best camera system on any 3D game ever. The camera system is always a problem in this type of game but it was almost never an issue in Spyro,

The control in this game is also top notch. You have analog control and dual shock support which both add tremendously to the overall experience. You will glide your way from ledge to ledge with ease. You will feel the hits you absorb from the enemies. You will almost never blame your deaths on poor controls so you will have to find another excuse. If all platform games controlled this smoothly the world might be a better place to live (okay, maybe not).

Graphics

If Mario is the game that all 3D platformers are to be judged by, then Spyro is the new king of the hill. For anyone out there that thinks the PSX does not have the graphical powers of the N64, I suggest you take a look at this game. I might be going out on a limb here, but I can almost say that this game has the best graphics on the PSX to date. All of the levels are very expansive and a sight to behold. Sure, they are a bit repetitive, but at least they are nice to look at. The game is so full of little touches that many people will take for granted that it is a shame. I suggest you just sit back and watch someone else play for a bit, just so you can appreciate the overall beauty of the game.

Bottom Line

While I found the gameplay to be a little on the repetitive side and was not very motivated to keep going to try to find all of the gems, there is no doubt that the graphics are awesome. I recommend this game just so you can pop it in whenever your obnoxious Nintendo-owning friend comes over and starts talking his 64-bit trash. This game will shut him up quicker than you could ever imagine. I wish they spent a little more time making the sub-levels look and feel a bit different from each other, but I guess you can't have everything.

Overview

What happens when you take five dragon families living in five dragon worlds and throw in a Jealous Gnorc? If you guessed that you get a bunch of dragons trapped in crystals with only one hope, a dragon name Spyro and a dragonfly named Sparx, you guessed right! It is up to you to rescue all the dragons and stop the Gnasty Gnorc. Think you have what it takes?

Spyro the Dragon is the latest and greatest marketing hype, er, games from SCEA. I don't mean to say that Sony markets the crap out of their games, but let's just say that they do a pretty good job of getting the word out to the public when they have a new game that they want the world to know about. Enter Spyro, the head-ramming, flame-throwing overly cute purple dragon. It is up to you to solve puzzles, collect treasures and free the encased dragons across the lands. Is this another over-hyped marketing effort or does this game deserve the attention? Read on and you shall see.

Gameplay

I feel like jumping straight into this review, so let's get right to it. Spyro is a 3D, go-anywhere platform game, ala Mario 64. Ever since the release of the N64, Mario has been the measuring stick for greatness so I will use it for comparisons. Spyro goes across six different worlds, collecting gems. Unlike most platform games, you will not get a bonus at 100 gems, or at any number of gems for that matter. You just try to collect all of the gems in the level. Fortunately you are given the number you are trying to find so you will not have to wonder if you missed any. Some of these gems are just lying around, while others are hidden in treasure chests and even others are revealed only after killing an enemy. The point is that you had better get ready to look high, low and anywhere in between to locate these things.

Your other objective during the game is to free the dragons that have been encased in crystal. Like with the gems, you are given the total number of frozen dragons on the level so you will know when you have found them all. When you find one of these dragons, you head smash into them and they will break free. Once free, they will talk to you and either give you a hint or a tip or most likely they will just say something that is completely useless. This was one of my complaints about the game. You would think that these dragons would be a little more helpful but instead they just say something stupid or worthless and it makes you wonder why they even bothered.

The game is broken up into five different dragon worlds and one world that houses Gnasty. All of the worlds are free roaming and have multiple sub-worlds mixed within. The first world you access is your home world and this one is where you can access all of the sub-worlds. You can always return to your home in each level regardless of which sub-world you are in. So basically the idea is that you run around in all of these different environments trying to gather gems and free the dragons. That pretty much sums it all up.

This was another of my complaints with the game. It just seemed to get boring after playing for awhile. I can't really put my finger on the exact reason but most platform games give me motivation to push forward to see what would be next. For some strange reason, I just did not have the same motivation to keep going in this game. I know that the basic idea of every platform game ever invented is to collect some sort of token item. In the case of this game it was just, well, boring walking around collecting gems. I just kept waiting for something new and exciting to happen but it never really did.

I think part of the reason that my motivation to push forward in the game was due to the fact that all of the sub-worlds were almost identical. I think that this game just lacked the variety in the levels to really pull me into the game. It seemed like once I started a new world I was stuck in the same type of environment for a few hours until I went off to the next world. It is difficult to explain the feeling but the best way to describe it is the old, very annoying saying, been there...done that. If there was ever a game that gives you this feeling, it is this.

After reading all of this you must think that I hated the game and that it was total crap. This is not the case at all. I think that this is a very good 3D platform style game in most respects. I think that the developers may have made the best camera system on any 3D game ever. The camera system is always a problem in this type of game but it was almost never an issue in Spyro,

The control in this game is also top notch. You have analog control and dual shock support which both add tremendously to the overall experience. You will glide your way from ledge to ledge with ease. You will feel the hits you absorb from the enemies. You will almost never blame your deaths on poor controls so you will have to find another excuse. If all platform games controlled this smoothly the world might be a better place to live (okay, maybe not).

Graphics

If Mario is the game that all 3D platformers are to be judged by, then Spyro is the new king of the hill. For anyone out there that thinks the PSX does not have the graphical powers of the N64, I suggest you take a look at this game. I might be going out on a limb here, but I can almost say that this game has the best graphics on the PSX to date. All of the levels are very expansive and a sight to behold. Sure, they are a bit repetitive, but at least they are nice to look at. The game is so full of little touches that many people will take for granted that it is a shame. I suggest you just sit back and watch someone else play for a bit, just so you can appreciate the overall beauty of the game.

Bottom Line

While I found the gameplay to be a little on the repetitive side and was not very motivated to keep going to try to find all of the gems, there is no doubt that the graphics are awesome. I recommend this game just so you can pop it in whenever your obnoxious Nintendo-owning friend comes over and starts talking his 64-bit trash. This game will shut him up quicker than you could ever imagine. I wish they spent a little more time making the sub-levels look and feel a bit different from each other, but I guess you can't have everything.

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